We went as a large-ish group staying in three cottages for an in-law's birthday celebration. Our cottage had two double beds and a pull out couch. Opening the door I immediately noticed the great view of the lake out the patio doors, which was even better than I expected. The room decor is somewhere between dated, and homey/cottage depending on your taste but was clean and fairly comfortable. It was less busy overall than I expected (I don't think they were full). The only time I really noticed the crowd was during meal times since the scheduled meal times meant that every one is there all at once.
I managed to find some quiet time to myself in the morning with a stroll through the mini-golf, trampolines, and a round of actual golf on the 5 hole course (Free!), and shooting some baskets. In the afternoon we enjoyed the batting cages, some archery, and another tour around the five hole course with family in tow this time. The golf course is rough around the edges (longish grass on the fairways, aerator marks on some greens are an added challenge) but quite fun for the casual player.
Bottom line: We had a good weekend as a family. You can probably tell from Fern website whether or not the resort is the place for you.
- They arranged for a cake from a local bakery which was great. (The desserts on the menu were good enough that you might actually be better off just sticking a candle on one of them! :) )
- Some of the cottages have a small deck on the back of each cottage facing the water is great. I wish I had spent more time out there in hindsight!
- Muskoka and Steamwhistle beer on tap! (albeit pricier than "domestic") Great to see local breweries being supported. I probably drank 50% more than I would have if they hadn't had such a good selection!
- Overall the food was good, with a good variety to choose from. Some small misses like my side of bacon being way too crispy (meanwhile the bacon at the buffet was perfect) and the home fries and burgers were just okay, but the soups were great, and my dinner entrees were excellent (particularly my mustard sauced pork tenderloin). Multiple courses with good sized portions, you won't go hungry.
- Servers in the dining room are mostly teenagers and perhaps not always perfectly polished but I thought the service was great and very friendly. (And we were probably a difficult table with two children and some indecisive adults!)
- Entertainment options were enjoyable. It was the Fantasy Circus and a comedy magician for the two nights we were there. Similar to the family cruise we did, the entertainment options were not necessarily my cup of tea and probably not things I would normally choose but I still enjoyed them and they were crowd pleasers for all ages.
- All inclusive. Pretty much everything was included other than motorized boats which was nice. A fridge in our cottage meant that we could have some snacks and beverages on hand if we wanted, but we didn't really take advantage of that.
- The weather wasn't particularly hot but the pool area was less busy and more relaxed then I thought it might be.
- I found it to be a tad pricey but it was comparable to other resorts we looked into.
- The late riser in our group our group found the meal times restrictive. I thought it was fine personally but something to keep in mind if you don't like being on a schedule.
- The mattress on the pull out couch was not amazing if you are larger person. I suspect it might be better if you are smaller than me.
- My double bed came with a lot of pointy elbows and knees, which lead to me try sleeping on the couch the second night. (We are used to a king size bed at home) You should probably be fine if you aren't traveling with my wife!
- Screaming children. This will obviously vary with how busy it is, and who happens to be there with you. It's a family resort though (What do you expect?) - and we brought two of the little monsters with our group so I suppose I can't complain too much :)
- Some areas are showing their wear (e.g. basketball courts, mini-putt) but probably not enough to spoil the fun for anyone but perfectionists.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Fern Resort and the Conference Centre at Fern are located along the shores of Lake Couchiching in the city of Orillia. We offer all inclusive packages for both family vacation stays as well as meeting and conference stays. All meals, use of facilities and at specific times of the year, we offer activity programs for all ages, children supervision and nightly entertainment. Established in 1895, Fern has a long tradition of offering our guests with good olde fashion hospitality in a professional and friendly manner. Whether it's the traditional family vacation, a little getaway weekend or a sales meeting or corporate seminar, Fern Resort and the Conference Centre at Fern should be your venue of choice. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, TripOnline SA, Hotels.com, Ebookers, Agoda and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Fern Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Fern Hotel Orillia
- Fern Resort Orillia, Canada - Ontario
- Fern Orillia